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UPDATE 3-U.S. to probe if plywood imports from Vietnam circumvent duties on Chinese goods

(Adds comment from Vietnam Foreign Ministry)

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department said it would examine whether hardwood plywood imports completed in Vietnam using Chinese components circumvented U.S. duties on imports from China, in a move that could see Vietnamese imports facing similar duties.

The department said it was initiating the inquiries in response to requests from the Coalition for Fair Trade in Hardwood Plywood, which represents an array of U.S. plywood makers in North Carolina and Oregon.

If the probe shows Vietnamese producers were circumventing existing anti-dumping or countervailing duties, the department said it would instruct U.S. Customs officials to begin collecting cash deposits on plywood from Vietnam.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told reporters on Thursday that such an examination should be conducted in a fair and objective manner.

“Vietnam fully adheres by WTO rules and has been seriously implementing its fight against trade fraud and the circumvention of duties,” Hang said at a regular briefing.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington and Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Franklin Paul

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